Sitka Conservation Society

Threats to the Tongass

Most of the oldest and largest trees on the Tongass were cut in the decades following World War II, but patches of old growth do remain and may never be safe from danger.  The Sitka Conservation Society strives to protect the remaining old growth and advocate for wise and sustainable development of the forest as a whole.  Timber sales on federal land can result in substantial road building and habitat loss, yet, in recent years, a greater danger has come at the hands of private Native Corporations.  Pending federal legislation would transfer thousands of acres of federal land on the Tongass to the private Sealaska Corporation.  This land includes some of the largest remaining old growth, which could well be logged within a decade.

Sealaska Corporation Land Privatization Bill

Pending federal legislation could result in the privatization of some of the most ecologically important places on the Tongass National Forest.   While the Sitka Conservation Society supports the fulfillment of promises made under Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, we are concerned about some areas poised for selection under the Sealaska legislation.  To that end, we have been advocating that certain ecologically critical selections be removed from the legislation and that safeguards are attached to other selections to guarantee continued public access and use of the land.

Climate Change

SCS is keeping a close watch on how climate change affects the Tongass through annual summer field work.  This research, which supplements that being done by the Forest Service and other agencies, includes monitoring changes in ice packs, glaciers, and plant and animal population. While we hate to see the Tongass negatively impacted by global warming, having good data on these changes is crucial for climate change advocacy work that could ultimately prevent future harm.


Invasive Organisms

A healthy and intact forest is the best defense against non-native species; however, human impact through climate change, logging, and introduction of exotic organisms weakens the forest’s natural defenses.  In order to prevent invasive organisms from spreading and threatening native species, SCS conducts monitoring efforts and assists in invasive species eradication projects through the Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.



Do you want to do your part to help protect the Tongass and its communities?  Check out the most recent Action Alerts for immediate steps you can take.  Also consider learning about how you can volunteer, get up to date email alerts, and donate to help SCS achieve out mission of protecting the natural environment of the Tongass while supporting the development of sustainable communities in Southeast Alaska.




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